NCVOA JANUARY 2015 NEWSLETTER
Published by the Nassau County Village Officials Association
Post Office Box 484, New Hyde Park, NY 1104
HAPPY NEW YEAR
and seasons greetings to one and all
NCVOA January 2015 Guest Speakers
General Membership Meeting David Sabatino
Tuesday, January13, 2015-7:00PM Associate Planners-Long Island
La Marmite Restaurant Regional Plan Association
For 90 years, Regional Plan Association has been an indispensible source of ideas and
plans for policy makers and opinion shakers accross the tri-state region.
Taking Stock of the New York Metropolitan Region
Over the last generation, the New York metropolitan region has seen sweeping change, much of it for the better. We have caught up to the nation in private-sector job growth; more people are optimistic about their future; and the tri-state area is recognized as one of the world’s most economically vibrant regions.
Yet, as RPA’s new report Fragile Success (fragile-success.rpa.org) outlines, our success is fragile. The region has progressed as a whole, but too many people haven’t shared in this growth. Real incomes have actually declined over the last 25 years for the majority of families. Some of the fastest-growing problems are in our suburbs, not in New York City. These challenges threaten to squander our advantages and leave the region worse off a generation from now than it is today.
RPA will engage key stakeholder and decision makers in the process of developing the Fourth Regional Plan. The first step in this process is to share and discuss our key research findings with diverse audiences throughout the region. Over the next few months we will be presenting Fragile Success through regional roadshow presentations and forums.
We believe that the Nassau County Village Officials Association could be a significant ambassador to the plan. As such, we are hoping to have time on an upcoming meeting agenda to share findings from Fragile Success – particularly as they relate to the Long Island sub-region – reserve time for questions and comments, and offer an opportunity for your members to stay involved in the Fourth Plan process.
From the President's Desk :
Fear Mayors, Trustees and Friends:
Happy New Year! I hope the holidays were enjoyable for you and your family, and you had a chance to take a break from your usual hectic pace and enjoy the true meaning of the holiday season.
Each year seems to go by so quickly and 2014 was no exception. As village officials, we continued to face the daily challenges of managing our villages efficiently while providing our residents with the level of service they want and deserve. No doubt this will be more difficult in 2015 with the advent of Governor Cuomo’s property tax freeze initiative. When first introduced, it seemed a laudable initiative. After all, who could argue against limiting tax increases and having the State of New York issue rebate checks to our residents? However, as we know too well, the devil is in the details. And as more details unfold, we realize this program is more hype than substance.
We were fortunate to have with us at our December General Membership meeting Barbara VanEpps, deputy executive director of the New York Conference of Mayors (NYCOM). Barbara braved the elements to travel from Albany to help decipher all the confusion surrounding the tax freeze and rebate program. She is extremely well-versed on this issue and provided a thorough explanation of how the program affects villages and their residents. The tax freeze for villages begins with fiscal year 2015, so Barbara’s guidance was invaluable as she explained each step in the process and answered numerous questions from the audience. As we learned from Barbara’s presentation, there are so many nuances with potential implications. For example, previously each village was encouraged to pass a local law piercing the tax cap as a precaution in case of a computing error. In 2015, that has changed completely. You cannot adopt a local law overriding the tax cap. If so, it needs to be repealed by June 21 for villages with a June fiscal year or the village will be excluded from the program.
Educating and Communicating with Residents is Key
Elected officials are not the only ones perplexed. It seems the media also does not understand the tax freeze and rebate program and how it affects villages. This was obvious when Newsday published a December 15, 2014 article and editorial stating a few Nassau County villages are beginning to explore ways to save money in response to Governor Cuomo’s property tax plan. This prompted me to send a letter to the editor explaining that economizing and seeking efficiencies is not a new concept for villages - that for the past several decades Nassau County’s 64 incorporated villages have been working together to share services and increase efficiencies.
It is clear there remains much confusion about the property tax freeze. We must make the extra effort to become fully versed so we explain it to our residents and educate them regarding the potential impact to the current programs and services we provide. NYCOM has created an excellent guide for local officials. I encourage you to access it at www.nycom.org
2015 at a Glance
So what lies ahead in 2015? On the state level, the November 2014 elections shifted the balance of power in the senate to the Republicans. Senator Skelos will remain majority leader and we are hopeful that he and his delegation will continue to help NCVOA and NYCOM address some of our most important issues.
In Nassau County, NCVOA has initiated a discussion with the County Executive’s office to establish a platform for all villages to work through the County in achieving the necessary requirements to fulfill the Governor’s tax rebate program. More details to follow.
Closer to home, villages must remain vigilant in advocating on behalf of our residents for issues we confronted in 2014:
- Securing permanent legislation granting villages, school districts, and special districts the authority to continue using lever voting machines;
- Preventing the City of New York and other local interests from re-opening wells and accessing new water supplies in the Lloyd aquifer;
Now, more than ever, we need the combined strength of Nassau County’s 64 incorporated villages to ensure we are heard at the county and state levels. I urge all villages to commit to making 2015 a year of involvement. There are so many ways each mayor and trustee can make a difference: Attend monthly NCVOA meetings; become active in a committee; send letters to your state legislators. These are just a few of the ways you can be involved.
The Executive Committee, officers and I look forward to working with you as we continue to advocate for our residents.
December 2014 NCVOA Meeting Attendees
The Last Word:
"A leader is one who know the way,
goes the way and shows the way'"